Editor's note: If you’re an end-client researcher and interested in participating in a Q&A with Quirk’s, please e-mail me at emilyk@quirks.com. 

Stephanie Heller: I have always been interested in learning about people and how they interact with their surroundings, so I chose sociology as my undergraduate major. While in college, I took a survey design and analysis class where I learned first-hand how to create a research project from start to finish that uncovers the opinions, attitudes and behaviors of people and how they influence the world around them. I knew I wanted to explore survey research further and while I was looking for internships there was an opening in the Consumer Insights department at Universal and I have been there ever since!

Jessica Golson: I went to school for advertising and planned to go the creative route until I took an advertising research class. We had been studying the general principles of effective advertising, but this was the first time we were introduced to the concept of nuance, thinking critically about how to appeal to distinct audiences with unique motivations. This class inspired me to seek a research internship and the more I learned, the more I loved it! I have been fortunate to work in the consumer insights field my entire career. 

Golson: One of the most basic challenges is that respondents from different countries have different response patterns. For our global projects, we design surveys that are completely free of traditional scales. To equalize the data, we like to use discrete choice questions, ranks and force the same number of selected items with multiple response. If, for some reason, scales are unavoidable, we’ve also come up with a few heuristics for sharing the results with our stakeholders in a relative, rather than absolute, way. 

Heller: We always approach critical topics from various angles, understanding that the results of any one q...